Romanticism is, and always has been, one of the most hotly contested terms in literary and cultural history. Many of the writers now described as Romantic refused to be defined by the word: 'it would be such bad taste', said Byron in 1820. Lovejoy spoke of a plurality of ‘romanticisms’, born of distinct thought complexes, whilst René Wellek argued that literatures labelled Romantic indicated common conceptions. Comparably, in the post-World War II period, political commentators have seen Romanticism as either profoundly radical or deeply reactionary.
This significant collection gathers key critical discussions that explore the complex and many-sided nature of the 'Romantic'. A new introduction by the editors, a full index and chronological table of contents guide the reader through the wealth of material dedicated to a term that is both extremely unstable and remarkably persistent.